Exuberant, with its infinite forests and sinuous rivers that run towards the ocean, the Department of Madre de Dios is where life is abundant in every corner. Puerto Maldonado, its capital city, is the only way to gain access to some of the area´s national parks and reserves. In different time periods, it was an important rubber, wood, gold and crude oil exploitation center. However, today, two of the department´s main economic activities are ecotourism, along with the growing and commercialization of nuts.
About 10 km. from Puerto Maldonado, and after an hour and a half of hiking, one finds Lake Sandoval, surrounded by aguajales, orchids, lupunas, caoba trees and mauritian palm trees of up to 30 meters in height. In addition, the lake is the home of a great variety of bird and animal species, such as toucans, macaws, parrots, herons, tapirs and turtles, as well as the refuge of the river otter and black lizard, both endangered species. In the vicinity of Lake Valencia, 60 km. from Puerto Maldonado, on the Madre de Dios River, several native communities live and are dedicated to fishing doncellas, goldfish and paiches, and it also is the habitat of a great diversity of species of flora and fauna.